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2-step Verification

We’ve added a new feature to improve the security of your .gov registrar account: 2-step verification.

What is 2-step verification?

A password is all that protects your account right now, and passwords can be easier to obtain than you might think.

2-step verification adds another step to the login process. After you enter your password, you’ll be asked for a passcode from your mobile device. This raises the stakes for someone who wants to get into your account because now they have to get your password and your phone.

Why is this change happening?

Though you might only change your .gov domain or account information infrequently, someone with your password could sign in at any time and make changes. This extra layer of security makes it harder for someone to log in as you, which protects the services you make available to the public via a .gov domain.

What does this change mean for me?

You will need to add 2-step verification to your account at https://domains.dotgov.gov. The feature will be rolling out gradually following the schedule below. Please note:

  1. The first date is the initial time you can add 2-step verification to your account.
  2. Between the two dates, if you’re not ready to add 2-step verification, you’ll be able to select “Remind me later”.
  3. The second date is the enforcement date. On this date and after, you must enable 2-step verification on your account to manage your domain.

Rollout schedule

How do I set up 2-step verification?

  1. Download the Google Authenticator app (Android, iOS) on your mobile device. (Note that your organization might have rules about whether this app should be installed on your personal or your work device.)
  2. On your computer, log in to the .gov registrar at https://domains.dotgov.gov.
  3. Once logged in, click on Account in the left navigation, then select Setup 2-step Verification.
  4. Open the Authenticator app on your device and select Begin Setup (or ‘+’ if you’ve used the app before), then tap Scan Barcode, and point your device’s camera at the the QR code on the screen. You should see an entry for the .gov Registrar added in Authenticator.
  5. Type the six-digit code displayed on your device in the One time password field.

Your account now has 2-step verification enabled! From now on, after you log in with your password, you will need to enter the six-digit code from your Authenticator app.

FAQ

Who does this change affect?

All user accounts will be required to use 2-step verification. If any of your domain points of contact (POC) are unable to use Google Authenticator, you will need to assign a new point of contact (POC).

Is there a cost for Google Authenticator?

No. Google Authenticator is free to download.

I do not have a smartphone. What other options do I have?

All users are required to use 2-step verification, no exceptions. If you are unable to use 2-step verification, a new POC should be assigned in your place.

Does Google Authenticator need an internet connection to function?

No. An internet connection is required to download Google Authenticator, but using it does not require an active connection.

What if I already use something other than Google Authenticator?

DotGov only provides customer support for Google Authenticator, but any application that implements the time-based one-time password (TOTP) standard will also work.

I have a new phone. How do I switch devices?

If you have the old phone, log in to your account, click on ‘Account’, then select ‘Update 2-step verification.’

If you’re updating 2-step verification to a new device and you have access to the old one, consider deleting the old device’s “.gov Registrar” entry so you aren’t confused in the future.

I’ve lost my phone! How do get back into my account?

If you are unable to access your device, you should contact the .gov Help Desk.

I have a question that isn’t listed. Who should I contact?

Contact the .gov Help Desk for additional support.